Latest updates

Globalisation and the use of geographical names in trademarks
Danubia Patent & Law Office LLC
  • Intellectual Property
  • Hungary
  • December 18 2017

The owner of the international trademark ELEVEN PARIS filed for an extension of protection in Hungary, which the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) refused on the basis that the inclusion of the geographical name Paris could be misleading. The Metropolitan Tribunal annulled the HIPO's decision and ordered it to re-examine the application. The tribunal's obiter dicta on globalisation and its consequences for the use of geographical names in trademarks are notable.

Ninth Circuit limits reach of anti-duplication provision
Sidley Austin LLP
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • USA
  • December 18 2017

The Ninth Circuit recently issued an opinion that reflected a limited interpretation of the scope of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's anti-duplication provision, which provides that the act must be construed to apply to or authorise state regulation of "any activity or substance" regulated under several other federal statutes, including the Clean Water Act.

Likelihood of confusion of pharmaceutical trademarks
Obligado & Cia
  • Intellectual Property
  • Argentina
  • December 18 2017

Argentine law contains no specific rules on the risk of confusion regarding pharmaceutical products and legal commentators and case law provide opposing views of whether common or stricter criteria should be applied. In this context, the most recent legislation and judicial decisions recognise that each particular case should be analysed separately in order to determine which criteria should be applied.

Requisition of an extraordinary general meeting
Solsidus Law
  • Company & Commercial
  • Cyprus
  • December 18 2017

Shareholders of a Cyprus company have the right to request that the directors convene an extraordinary general meeting (EGM), and the directors are legally obliged to do so within a specified time. For the EGM to be legally valid, it must be made only by those who hold at least one-tenth of the company's paid-up share capital and have the right to vote in general meetings. Further, it must be signed and deposited at the company's registered office and must be called within 21 days of the request.

Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission under pressure
Sofunde Osakwe Ogundipe & Belgore
  • White Collar Crime
  • Nigeria
  • December 18 2017

Following media reports accusing the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission director general and two other senior officials of serious financial impropriety, the Federal Ministry of Finance recently announced the suspension of the accused officials pending investigations into the accusations. Regardless of whether the allegations are true, the commission has come under pressure in the past two years due to an increase in the number of market crises, which critics have attributed to failures in oversight.

Parent company guarantee requirement for future decommissioning cost in corporate transfers on NCS
Simonsen Vogt Wiig Advokatfirma
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Norway
  • December 18 2017

In 2016 the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced that in all future corporate transfers subject to ministry approval it would consider requiring security from the seller establishing a secondary liability for future decommissioning costs. The ministry will require any seller of a licensee or of a licensee's parent company to provide an unlimited parent company guarantee. However, questions have been raised about the robustness of the security achieved by the guarantee.

Anti-money Laundering Regulations for unregulated investment and insurance entities to take effect
  • White Collar Crime
  • Cayman Islands
  • December 18 2017

Under new anti-money laundering legislation, the list of activities classed as relevant financial businesses has been expanded. Unregulated investment funds and some insurance entities have now been given a grace period until May 31 2018 to establish anti-money laundering compliance programmes. This is a welcome move, particularly for unregulated investment funds which were not bound by the preceding regulations and therefore may not have policies and procedures in place.

Revision of Federal Act on the Reduction of CO2 Emissions
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • December 18 2017

The Federal Council recently published its dispatch regarding the total revision of the Federal Act on the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions for 2021 to 2030. The parliamentary debate on the revision of the act will start in 2018. This will define the development and course of Swiss climate policy for upcoming years. Switzerland aims to tighten the act and reinforce its contribution to the limitation of global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

No trade, no deduction: Tax Court issues Section 11(a) judgment
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
  • Corporate Tax
  • South Africa
  • December 15 2017

The Tax Court recently issued its decision in a case concerning a taxpayer's claim for R90 million as an expense or loss during the 2007 assessment year, the deduction of which was prohibited by the South African Revenue Service. Among other things, the court had to consider whether the taxpayer had been carrying on the trade of selling coal when it had paid the R90 million and whether the expense had been incurred in the production of income or for trade purposes.

Knowledge of counterparty's insolvency in claw-back case
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • Sweden
  • December 15 2017

A bankruptcy estate may take action for the claw back of transactions that have been carried out in relation to a certain creditor before the initiation of bankruptcy proceedings, if such transactions have been adverse to the interests of other creditors. Certain transactions can be reversed during a five-year hardening period if the relevant creditor knew, or should have known, that the debtor was insolvent when the transactions were undertaken.

Restructuring Order applies only where binding ruling exists
Clifford Chance Deutschland LLP
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • Germany
  • December 15 2017

On February 9 2017 the Great Senate of the Federal Fiscal Court published a decision stating that the Restructuring Order was illegal. On June 27 2017 the legislature introduced new legislation which provides that the tax authorities may waive taxes or assess taxes at a lower level. However, the new legislation can be applied only where creditors have waived their claims after February 8 2017.

Limits set to client communication via e-banking
Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH
  • Banking
  • Austria
  • December 15 2017

The Supreme Court recently rendered its first judgment on the admissibility of the use of electronic mailboxes, which are exclusively incorporated and only accessible via the e-banking system of a credit institution for serving client account notices and statements to consumers. This ruling will significantly affect Austrian banking practice.

Supreme Court decides on enforceability of electronic promissory notes
Advokatfirman Törngren Magnell
  • Banking
  • Sweden
  • December 15 2017

A case regarding the enforceability of an electronic promissory note was recently decided by the Supreme Court. The court investigated whether the relevant electronic loan document was to be viewed as a non-negotiable or negotiable instrument, and settled that it was indeed a non-negotiable promissory note. This meant that the requirement to present an original document to the Enforcement Authority did not apply.

Further reminder of instalment scheme for tax arrears
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
  • Corporate Tax
  • Cyprus
  • December 15 2017

With the extended deadline for the submission of applications for inclusion in the deferred settlement scheme for tax arrears established by Law 4(I)/2017 now less than one month away, the Tax Department has issued a further reminder of the scheme's main features. For example, all tax returns due must have been submitted and all tax liabilities for periods after December 31 2015 must have been settled or be in the process of being settled in accordance with an agreed payment schedule.

Launching an ICO in British Virgin Islands
  • Banking
  • British Virgin Islands
  • December 15 2017

Interest in the setting up and distribution of initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore locations has increased rapidly during 2017, and this is expected to continue. No ICO or blockchain-specific rules or guidelines have yet been issued by the government or regulator; however, there are several important issues for parties in the British Virgin Islands to consider, including the key laws and regulations surrounding the issue.

Asymmetric arbitration agreements
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • International
  • December 14 2017

One of arbitration's cornerstone principles is that parties can agree on how to resolve their disputes. However, parties commonly agree on asymmetric, rather than symmetric, rights. The classic case is where only one party has the right to refer disputes to arbitration, but the other must litigate. Parties wishing to include asymmetric arbitration clauses are advised to consider carefully the courts' approaches to such clauses in all relevant jurisdictions.

CCI dismisses allegation of abuse of dominance against Sanofi
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • India
  • December 14 2017

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently dismissed claims against Sanofi India Limited for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the market of drugs and pharmaceutical products. The CCI found that Sanofi enjoyed no dominant position and therefore held that there was no prima facie case to investigate its alleged conduct.

FECC penalises individuals for commissioning absolute monopolistic practice in tortilla market
SAI Consultores SC
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Mexico
  • December 14 2017

Corn tortillas are a fundamental source of nutrition for Mexican families, and artificial price increases have a significant effect on the consumer economy. Given the importance of the corn tortilla market, it has come under the scrutiny of several authorities – for example, the Federal Economic Competition Commission, which recently fined three individuals a total of Ps394,508 for the commission of an absolute monopolistic practice in the market for the production, distribution and marketing of corn tortillas.

ECJ clarification means endive producers must turn over new leaf
Baker McKenzie Krzyzowski i Wspólnicy Spólka Komandytowa
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • European Union
  • December 14 2017

Under certain strict conditions, agricultural producers can coordinate their pricing and quantities without falling foul of the EU competition rules. However, the European Court of Justice recently confirmed that not all practices by agricultural producer organisations and their associations are automatically excluded from the application of those rules. This judgment is a timely reminder that the EU competition rules apply broadly to the agricultural sector and that any exclusions will be interpreted restrictively.

Launching an ICO in British Virgin Islands
Harney Westwood & Riegels
  • Private Client & Offshore Services
  • British Virgin Islands
  • December 14 2017

Interest in the setting up and distribution of initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore locations has increased rapidly during 2017, and this is expected to continue. No ICO or blockchain-specific rules or guidelines have yet been issued by the government or regulator; however, there are several important issues for parties in the British Virgin Islands to consider, including the key laws and regulations surrounding the issue.

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